Deadly explosions strike Turkish-Syrian border town of Reyhanli (PHOTOS)


Two car bombs killed at least 40 people and wounded more than 100 in the Turkish town of Reyhanli on the Syrian border on Saturday. The bombs, which exploded in downtown Reyhanli, including outside the local municipal building, raised fears that Syria's ongoing civil war is spilling over its borders and into neighboring countries.


Tracey Shelton

REYHANLI, Turkey — Forty-six people are dead and 100 more are injured after multiple car bombs went off in the Turkish town of Reyhanli, near the long border with war-torn Syria. 

Two blasts occurred near City Hall and the town post office, damaging at least 4 very large blocks of shopping and residential area and destroying the immediate area, GlobalPost senior correspondent Tracey Shelton reported. 

One 82-year-old resident Ahmed Mohammed told GlobalPost his home is around 100 meters from the first impact.

"My family were all at home when we heard the explosion so we didn't see where it came from," he said. "Thank God we are all okay, but my neighbors were all injured and their father was killed. About 15 minutes later we heard another explosion." 

Read more from GlobalPost: Turkish doctors say no nerve gas in Syrian victims blood

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned that the death toll may increase as many of the wounded are in serious condition, according to the Hurriyet Daily News. 

The town is a major entry point for refugees from Syria into Turkey, and deputy prime minister of Turkey Bulent Arinc accused President Bashar al-Assad's government was "usual suspects" responsible for the blasts, Al Jazeera reported

Turkey said it would be swift to respond to the attack. 

"No one should attempt to test Turkey's power. Our security forces will take all necessary measures," said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, according to Reuters. 

Arinc added in his televised comments that Turkey would wait for the results of an investigation before acting. 

No group has taken responsibility for the bombings. 

Local media reports claimed that the locals proceeded to attack Syrian refugees and cars with Syrian plates after the explosions took place, according to the BBC. 

The attitude on the street was one of anger with many screaming angrily about the Syrian people "bringing the war to Turkey," Shelton reported.

One man confronted police at the front of the Reyhanli Hospital to the cheers of the crowds. The Turkish Army were brought to guard the emergency entry while distraught families mourned at the hospital entrance.

"The situation is dangerous for Syrian people in Reyhanli now," said Mohammed Haj, a Syrian resident in the town who has since taken his family back across the border into Syria until the situation cools down. "There are some groups of young Turkish men attacking Syrian homes and cars with sticks and stones."

These aren't the first attacks on Turkish soil that may be linked to the increasingly bloody conflict in Syria: on Feb 11, 14 were killed by a car bomb that went off at the Idlib border crossing, which Syrian rebels claim was orchestrated by the Syrian government, according to the Associated Press. 

Turkey has aligned itself with rebel forces fighting the Syrian government, and is currently sheltering over 300,000 Syrian nationals fleeing the fighting, as well as allowing insurgents to stage attacks across the border.